Spring 2022

Type of Culminating Activity

Student research paper


How might I integrate mindful awareness, benevolent social action, and environmental stewardship into the routine of an outdoor education program? The Flourish Foundation, a social-profit organization, based in Hailey, Idaho, helps facilitate a youth service-learning program maintaining wilderness trails for the Sawtooth National Recreation Area called the Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP). This program aims to provide emerging adults with service-learning opportunities in wilderness conservation and outdoor living skills by spending several days living in the backcountry and maintaining wilderness trails. A growing body of evidence supports the age-old understanding that spending time in natural environments is beneficial to our cognitive function, physical health, and psychological well-being and that nature connectedness reinforces environmental awareness and stewardship. Yet, many outdoor programs haven’t acquired the language to examine the interconnectedness of the environment and mind. As the ESP is still in development, this project aims to integrate contemplative practice into the curricula of immersive outdoor education. Doing so benefits the direct stakeholders of those involved with the ESP with program structure, the greater outdoor education community with more educational tools, and the collective effort to engender compassion and interdependent responsibility in addressing the ongoing environmental catastrophe.

Degree Program

Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies


Margaret Sass, J.D., Ed.D.



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